It is true that your chances are small of having your income set to zero for purposes of calculating child support. Generally, it requires something extraordinary. For example, if someone is in jail, the court will generally not impute to that person. However, for anything less, the court is likely to impute income to you. You should probably consult with an experienced family law attorney to go over the facts of your case in greater detail.
No. The court has routinely imputed income to a parent who is not working--and they impute income to men and women. You could try to win on this point by showing the court what your history of earnings has been, and that the cost of daycare is greater than what you might earn. To do that, you'll need to provide the court with your tax returns from at least 2 past years plus the results of your research of area daycares. If the daycare has an information sheet, showing the amount charged, print it out and attach it to your declaration explaining who you called, when you called them, and what it would cost for daycare for a child under the age of 1. You could also cite the case In re Shellenberger, which allows the court to consider your cost for daycare when imputing income to you. “Where the trial court imputes income to a parent for purposes of providing support through college of adult children, the court must also consider that parent’s support obligation for any minor children, and the daycare expense for those children which would result if the parent were actually earning the income imputed by the court.” Marriage of Shellenberger, 80 Wn. App. 71, 82, 906 P.2d 968 (1995) The important thing is to spell out all the problems with working in a declaration. A declaration starts with "I, X, declare: and ends with: signed at (city), (State) on (date). Signature: " The reason the court imputes income to you is the same reason the court imputes income to the dad if he is a student: the obligation to support the child comes first. But show the court your costs, and your earnings history. You have a chance of either lowering the amount imputed or having the imputed amount reduced by daycare costs. Also, run the child support worksheet(it's available to you on line at the Court's website--go to Washington state court forms, look for child support calculator/worksheet, and follow those instructions.) Sometimes, even with income imputed to you, your child support isn't a lot lower. It's just that your percentage share of daycare that is work related, uninsured health care and insurance can be higher.